Reviews | The Drive

Get The Most Out Of Your Mazda3 With These Tires

Give your economy car the best tires so it can give you its best performance.

With decades of combined experience covering the latest news, reviewing the greatest gear, and advising you on your next car purchase, The Drive, is the leading authority on all things automotive.

youtubefacebookinstagram

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BY/ LAST UPDATED ON April 29, 2022

You love the convenience of your Mazda 3; it’s comfortable and functional. So isn’t it time that you showed your Mazda 3 some love? Help your Mazda perform better with a set of new tires.
When it comes to buying Mazda 3 tires, you want them to improve your vehicle’s performance and handling. This means you should buy the best. Check out the tires in our buying guide below and step up the performance of your Mazda.

Best Overall

Vredestein Quatrac Pro

Summary
The newcomer enters the knife fight with a sword. Vredestein’s grand touring tire charges in with some of the best performance and versatility in the business.
Pros
  • Excellent dry traction
  • Class-leading in the wet
  • Surprising winter traction
  • Athletic handling and responses
Cons
  • Unavailable sizes for base 16-inch wheels
  • Some mild road noise
  • Not a class leader in the snow
Best Value

Sumitomo HTR A/S P03

Summary
Strong performance in nearly all weather? Solid handling? Any size I want? Very rarely are tires this alluring at this price point.
Pros
  • Undeniable value for the performance
  • Class leader in winter testing
  • Surefooted in the wet
  • Available sizes for OEM wheels
Cons
  • Some mild road noise
  • Slightly numb, sluggish steering feel
Honorable Mention

Yokohama Advan Sport A/S+

Summary
The Advan Sport A/S+ is another penny-pinching performer worth considering for Mazda 3s that need to go everywhere and have fun doing so.
Pros
  • Fantastic price point
  • Silent and serene ride
  • Sports car-like grip and handling
Cons
  • Not a standout in the wet or snow
  • Slightly vague steering feel
Get The Most Out Of Your Mazda3 With These Tires

The Mazda3, the Zoom-Zoom brand’s lovable little econobox, has been a lovable everyman’s daily driver for years. And it's in your best interest as owners (or potential buyers) to score the perfect tires to match. These zippy sedans and hatchbacks have done nearly everything for everyone; from budget-friendly performance platforms to cozy commuters that do a darn good impression of luxury. There’s a rainbow of different tires for all the tasks your Mazda3 may be burdened with, so let The Drive help you in browsing for the best.

We’ve made sure to have you covered from tires for tearing up the cones at your local autocross to surviving the treacherous 9-to-5 Grand Prix. Come on in, scroll on down, and happy shopping. Because one of the cars on sale today, econobox or not, still deserves the best tires.

Our Methodology

It’s The Drive’s goal to always deliver the most informative, honest takes for everything we publish for Guides & Gear, and while it’s not always possible to source a million tires for a million scenarios, you won’t catch us dead in our tracks. We work to combine our real-life experiences with feedback from experts and opinions from consumers to deliver concise takes on every product we review. Retail giants including Tire Rack assist in gathering test data and ownership stories as a sort of grand encyclopedia on all things tires and has consistently proven itself to be a valuable asset. Products with little-to-no test data or ownership feedback are typically ignored in favor of proven items with a trusted backing. For more information on how we generally curate our reviews, check out the link here.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best Mazda3 Tire Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Vredestein
  • Tire Type: Grand touring all-season
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Excellent dry traction
  • Class-leading in the wet
  • Surprising winter traction
  • Athletic handling and responses

Cons

  • Unavailable sizes for base 16-inch wheels
  • Some mild road noise
  • Not a class leader in the snow

The Vredestein Quatrac Pro serves as a fitting tire for such a spritely commuter, and while the company is new to the States, it’s been a renowned name in the industry for decades. The Quatrac Pro is one of a handful of ambassadors showcasing the company’s talents and has been one of the most acclaimed tires in recent years for its superb, well-rounded performance on a variety of vehicles. An aggressive tread pattern riddles in sipes combined with a high-silica gives it reportedly strong traction and stability on both wet and lightly-snowy roads earning it the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rating. Dry traction is equally strong, and handling is sports car sharp for a grand touring all-season Drawbacks include a lack of sizing for cars rocking the smaller 16-inch wheels. For owners of higher trims or aftermarket wheels, however, there is an abundance of sizes in pretty much every other wheel diameter. While Tire Rack’s test data was strong, owners have reported only okay snow traction in some harsher conditions, and the tire does have some mild but mostly unobtrusive road noise.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Sumitomo
  • Tire Type: Performance all-season
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Undeniable value for the performance
  • Class leader in winter testing
  • Surefooted in the wet
  • Available sizes for OEM wheels

Cons

  • Some mild road noise
  • Slightly numb, sluggish steering feel

Sumitomo has established themselves as a rock-solid bang-for-the-buck brand, and their HTR A/S P03 is a fantastic example of how strong performance doesn’t always have to come at a premium price. In the hands of both Tire Rack testers and consumers alike, this performance all-season displayed strong, sporty levels of traction in both dry and wet surfaces including class-leading wet braking and almost leading in wet G-forces. What especially surprised everyone was its dominant winter performance with strong snow traction relative to its peers. Some owners report no issue with commuting in light snow conditions, and one 2010 Mazda3 hatchback owner stands by its capability to wade through the worst storms. Sizes are plentiful in both aftermarket and OEM wheel sizes. Common nitpicks include some noticeable tire noise which is reportedly more intrusive than most of its competitors and less-than-adequate steering feel. The Sumitomos reportedly rob feedback from the driver and slow responses by a smidge. Traction and handling remain strong but pairing that performance with this level of feel has left a few drivers a bit disappointed.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Yokohama
  • Tire Type: Performance all-season
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Fantastic price point
  • Silent and serene ride
  • Sports car-like grip and handling

Cons

  • Not a standout in the wet or snow
  • Slightly vague steering feel

Performance all-seasons just seem to get it right, and Yokohama’s Advan Sport A/S+ is a shining example at a stellar price point which slots barely above the Sumitomo on this list. Tire Rack testers and owners alike admire the cozy grand tourer vibes that this tire imbues the experience with thanks to a soft, high-silica compound. Despite the cushiness, road noise is reportedly negligible with drivers only noting a slight boominess on rough road surfaces. From dedicated sports cars to family minivans, owners praise the athletic level of grip and handling which, while middling in instrumented testing, is far beyond what most drivers call for on the street. Knocks against one of Yokohama’s best could be that it’s not quite a hero in the wet or snow despite its unique Z-Groove and Wavy Sipe tread pattern. Tire Rack testers note that wet braking and grip are just a smidge behind its peers but still commendable for the class. Consumers in cities that experience frequent rainstorms and icy winters are a bit more critical and warn spirited drivers to tame their lead-foot antics. While overall performance is strong, the steering feel is reportedly a tad numb, as well.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Vredestein
  • Tire Type: Performance winter
  • Speed Rating: R

Pros

  • Outstanding all-around traction
  • No more winter woes
  • Supple ride quality
  • Commendable steering feel

Cons

  • Unavailable sizes for base 16-inch wheels
  • Soft compound’s limitations in warmer weather
  • Some might call it noisy

For when it’s time to zoom-zoom across the Snowbelt States, Vredestein has your back with their Wintrac Pros. These performance winter tires deliver exceptional traction when traversing that scary white stuff on such a high level, it surprised testers and consumers-turned-fanatics alike. The Drive’s managing editor Jonathon Klein has even grown quite smitten with their high limits. Performance on dry and wet surfaces is quite strong as well as edges out other winter rubber in grip and braking tests. Steering feel is reportedly quite good, a very non-winter tire trait to have, and ride quality is admirably compliant. Just have a set of Quatracs ready to rock when temps start to rise. Don’t expect steering feel to remain as sharp or for grip to be fierce as the winter compounds are sure to succumb to the summer heat. Road noise, while not terrible, is present and was reportedly the loudest of its peers in Tire Rack’s testing. Another gripe is that sizing is unavailable for base cars on 16-inch wheels or folks simply after smaller wheels to fit a beefier sidewall.
Best High-Performance Summer Tire
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Check Latest Price

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Michelin
  • Tire Type: Max performance summer
  • Speed Rating: ZR

Pros

  • Unwavering grip
  • Surprising wet traction
  • Commendable refinement and comfort

Cons

  • Summer tire limitations in winter weather
  • One of the more expensive choices

Another highly-acclaimed and beloved tire from a premium company, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is one of the hottest entries in the summer tires category. OEM equipment on supercars and popular additions for anything from hot hatches to luxury sedans, this tire garners praise for its razor-sharp responses and tenacious grip. Cornering G-forces and braking are among the best of its breed. What especially sets the Michelin apart is how it combines top-tier grip with incredible road refinement and comfort with minimal noise or harsh impacts transmitted to the driver. Wet weather traction is also outstanding with an ability to maintain fierce traction levels while resisting hydroplaning. Exercise caution, however, as this tire will still suffer the same penalties in the winter as any summer rubber. The compound is highly susceptible to hardening as temps drop, and the tread is not ideal for even light snow. A quick browse through YouTube reveals that they struggle to inch up the mildest of grade at just the hint of snow. In addition to low levels of winter grip, brace yourself with some dough in your pocket as these are one of the pricier choices on this list.
Best Autocross/Track Tire:
Yokohama Advan A052
Check Latest Price

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Yokohama
  • Tire Type: Extreme performance summer
  • Speed Rating: R, ZR

Pros

  • Transcendent dry traction
  • Usable wet traction
  • Comfortable for its class

Cons

  • Party is short-lived
  • Don’t expect a rally car in the wet or snow
  • Somewhat numb feel for its class

This was the tire on Travis Pastrana’s Gymkhana car. That means something, right? Well, Yokohama’s Advan A052 hopes it means something to the track rats who prefer to see their zippy econoboxes three-wheeling over apexes and around obliterating cones at autocross. Dry grip is comparable to its peers in instrumented testing which is to say very strong. What sets the Yoko apart is how it pairs track day performance with enhanced comfort and wet traction; it sets the fastest wet lap by entire seconds. One owner even described the tire after experiencing its wet performance as “cheater tires.” It seems almost perfect if being hindered by most of the usual track tire drawbacks is your definition of almost perfect. While surprisingly compliant, the Yoko still exhibits some mild yet noticeable road noise in everyday use. Wet traction also trails a more well-rounded summer tire, so be cautious at high speeds or in deep puddles, and don’t even try it in the snow. One owner reported a decline in grip at as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Steering, while sharp, is a tad bit numb for its class, and tread life is approximately as low as its peers.

Our Verdict on Mazda3 Tires

There goes our list of the best tires you can snag for your Mazda3. The Vredestein Quatrac Pro earns top marks for its do-it-all, year-round performance, and athletic dynamics. Sumitomo’s HTR A/S P03 steals Best Value for doing its best impression of some premium tires at a very non-premium price point. And no one should forget about Yokohama’s Advan Sport A/S+ for combining sharp dynamism and comfort for a similarly good price. But we’d like to hear back from you. 

What to Consider When Buying Tires For Your Mazda3

Mazda3 owners are a colorful array of discerning drivers, so you must figure out how you want to narrow (or even broaden) your car’s focus. Do you need a do-everything tire for the daily grind and the occasional holiday excursions? Or are you trying to expand upon the capabilities of your lukewarm hatch for a Sunday trip to the local back roads? Decisions, decisions. Here are a few ways through which tires can distinguish themselves.

Types of Tires

All-Season/Touring

The all-encompassing category under which most ordinary passenger car tires land. These can be true, four-season, go-anywhere rubber with mild winter capabilities and a big emphasis on wet traction. These can be long-lasting, quiet, and cushy pillows for traversing stretches of highway to the moon and back. It’s a fairly broad term, but all tires here will share a lot of common traits and goals highlighting their appeal as solid commuter tires.

Many will have rubber compounds with a high silica content. Silica is an additive that helps achieve a “just right” softness to remain pliable at most cold temperatures, improve wet traction, and aid in ride comfort. While not as aggressive as winter tires, they may also be abundant in siping and complex tread patterns to evacuate moisture and resist hydroplaning. A few may even don the coveted three-peak mountain snowflake logo to signify enhanced winter usability.

Winter

These tires are a leap above all-seasons when the tarmac shines white and the temp needles read single-digits. They will typically have the softest of rubber compounds to remain pliable even in freezing conditions. Their tread patterns will also be the most aggressive with unique patterns and enough siping to funnel an ocean out from underneath them. These work to create a biting edge to claw at snow and ice for traction when the asphalt is a few inches beneath you.

A big disclaimer must be known to anyone looking for their first set. Most if not all of these won’t fare so well in warm weather as the heat combined with the soft compounds will lead to some undesirable driving characteristics. Tread wear usually accelerates as frictional drag increases, and steering and handling will often devolve to a mushy sluggishness versus tires better suited for year-round driving.

High-Performance

The breed that any die-hard enthusiast gets all giddy over, performance tires will provide the most traction for all your cornering and braking needs. The more common and civil of the species, summer performance or ultra-high-performance tires, are formulated with unique rubber compounds and tread designs that aim to maximize dry traction without sacrificing longevity or wet traction. Some acclaimed models from premium brands even manage to pull off astounding levels of wet traction and daily comfort. 

For the dedicated track rats who want their econoboxes three-wheeling around cones, there’s an abundant selection of 200-treadwear competition tires with minimal tread for maximum contact patch. Don’t expect these to fare as well in daily use given the massive penalties in road noise, tread life, and wet traction. Due to the advanced technologies that they employ, performance tires in general will often be the most expensive option.

Tire Key Features

Tread Pattern

Here is a crucial and decisive factor in how your car will perform. Tread patterns dictate things like your contact patch on the road and how well it handles inclement weather. 

High-performance rubber with less tread and siping are designed to maximize a tire’s contact with the road and in turn, elevate traction levels. This would usually mean a decline in wet grip as well, but most premium tires utilize ingenious patterns and tread compounds to compensate.

On the other end of the spectrum, all-season and winter tires will feature a plethora of complex tread designs and siping (those thin cuts) to better flush moisture out from under the tire. Siping also provides a biting edge to help winter tires grab at snow and ice as well as micro flexibility within the tread blocks to slightly aid in ride comfort.

Sidewall

Tire sidewall is a big determining factor in deciding the ride quality and handling of a car. You can either handle soft or stiff and respond quickly or sluggishly depending on sidewall construction. Softer sidewalls like on touring and most all-seasons will reward a driver’s sensibility with a soft, cozy ride quality, but it may often come at the expense of numb steering feel and comparatively sluggish responses in spirited driving.

Stiffer sidewalls on high-performance and track day tires may deliver firmer, noisier rides. Combined with the typically thinner sidewall profiles that performance tires are usually made in, ride quality is often not up to snuff with the best touring tires. The benefit is sharper handling and improved feel through the wheel as the thinner, firmer rubber is better at resisting deflection during cornering while not completely dampening all the information going up to the driver.

Rubber Compound

Touring tires may utilize soft compounds for a comfortable ride in day-to-day traffic but may not be the best at transmitting feel or generating lateral grip when driven with any sort of pep in your step. Economy tires may be firmer to reduce frictional drag thus improving miles per gallon and tire life.

Note that specialized compounds for track day and winter tires will feature very specific formulas to help them excel in their missions but with major compromises in versatility. The soft formulas help track rubber glue themselves to the pavement but will rapidly wear down even when simply wafting along canyon roads. Winter rubber is soft to literally resist freezing, but their compounds leave them feeling sluggish in warm weather and similarly prone to accelerated wear.

Mazda3 Tire Pricing 

Given the small wheel sizes available, Mazda3 tires don’t typically break the bank in most cases, and some models are just downright bargains. Expect most tires for OEM wheels plus a few deviations for owners of aftermarket rollers to cost between $600 to $800 for a set of four. Our Best Value pick will run under $630 for a set measuring in 215/45/R18 and a hair under $480 for a set in 205/60/R16. Special performance rubber like the Michelin and the Yoko will demand a fair bit more coin, however. Expect the Michelins to hover below $900 for a set of four while Yokohamas edge closer to a grand.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Can I use all-seasons in the winter?

A: As with any other vehicle, you generally shouldn’t. Rubber compounds that are susceptible to hardening in extreme cold plus the lack of additional siping to grab at snow and evacuate moisture cripple most all-seasons during rough winters. At the least, hunt for all-seasons with the three-peak mountain snowflake rating.

Q: Can I regularly drive on performance tires?

A: If we’re talking summer tires, then absolutely. Most offerings will be at home in nearly any condition, dry or wet, so long as it’s not below certain temperatures. We don’t recommend the same for track rubber due to their extreme compromises in road noise, tread life, and wet weather traction.

Q: Can I fit non-OEM tire sizes on my Mazda3?

A: Definitely, especially if you’re looking for separate wheels for track or winter rubber or are aiming to enhance your Mazda3’s aesthetics. Don’t go too big on width or diameter to avoid rubbing. Tire Rack even has a wheel configurator with sizing to help. Sparco Terras on Wintrac Pros, anyone?

stripe
stripe